Mar 052013
 
Share

By Shelley Davenport, Move For Free

Incorporating economically and environmentally friendly practices into multifamily living is a great way to avoid unnecessary waste and improve the community. So when an apartment community actually provides a recycling option, why is it being ignored? Information and motivation are keys on the road to greener living. Here are a few great ways that management can encourage their residents to take advantage of these eco-friendly options.

1. Get the Word Out
Some renters may not even realize recycling is an option at their apartment community. Management can reach out with information on recycling, pick-up dates and the acceptable recyclables via email, mail or door to door. For an easy reminder of when to recycle, distribute refrigerator magnets with the regular and holiday pick-up times. Showing how the apartment community has been going green (for example, LED light bulbs, high-efficiency air filters, Energy Star products, etc.) shows that you are dedicated to this cause. You can motivate residents into action with eye-catching informative door hangers. For effective visuals, try using an interesting statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency like:

  • Did you know that recycling 10 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power a laptop for nearly 52 hours?
  • Enough plastic water bottles are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times!
  • Recycling 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a 60W equivalent light bulb for nearly 100 hours.

2. Provide Pick-up
Whether it is the morning of pick-up or the day before, you can make recycling even more convenient for your renters by offering door-front or building-front collection. By eliminating the long treks to the recycling station in the rain, cold or heat, residents will be more likely to take advantage of recycling services. Why is fast food popular? Because it’s cheap, quick and easy. Taking that same approach with the recycling process can produce greater results in your community. Many apartment communities already offer “valet trash” services. Implementing a valet recycling option not only encourages renters to reduce their waste production but looks great for potential residents, as well.

3. Provide a Bin
If you include the price of a $5 bin in community fees or not, your residents will still need a proper receptacle for their recyclables. A small recycling bin in each apartment will serve as a reminder to keep glass, aluminum and other recyclables out of the trash. This will also cut down on the amount of plastic trash bags that head to the landfills each week. In the same way that people don’t like to buy clothes they won’t wear, they won’t want to clutter their apartment with something they don’t intend to use. Simply having a proper recycling bin available will motivate them to use it.

4. Offer Rewards
Apartment communities who partner with businesses such as RecycleBank have a little more to offer their residents. When your residents participate in RecycleBank, they’re earning points and educating themselves with every reusable item they keep out of the trash. More than 1,000 local and national vendors accept these points, coupons and discounts from RecycleBank. Renters can easily earn $20 in savings from eco-friendly stores and brands such as Whole Foods and Kashi. Meanwhile, RecyclePal in Omaha, Neb., took its partnership to the next level by offering doorstep service, with an included 30-gallon recycle bag, for apartments, condominiums and small businesses alike. You can also offer rewards for recycling like discounts on utility bills, rent or even free events hosted by the apartment.

Whether the majority of your residents are students, young professionals, new families or seasoned professionals, they are all strapped for time. Make recycling a fast, simple and pain-free experience for renters and they’re sure to get in the recycling spirit.

Shelley Davenport is a copywriter for Move For Free, an apartment-locating service in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. She’s a big fan of apartment decorating and DIY projects.

Share

  3 Responses to “Guest Post: How to Encourage Recycling at Multifamily Communities”

  1. Shelley,

    This is a nicely thought out and presented article. Would you happen to have some thoughts relating to the organics component of a multi-unit residential building’s waste stream. Clearly by source separating the inorganic(plastic, metal, glass etc) it might be easier to get the compostable portion of the waste stream prepared for pick up or perhaps even composting on site.I would look forward to your thoughts on compost.

    Great job.

    Byron

  2. Shelley,

    Terrific article! Doorstep trash and recycling services for the multihousing industry is a value-added service. A win-win for property management firms and residents alike!

    Sincerely,

    David Kantor
    Founder & CEO
    WastePoint

    http://www.wastepoint.com

  3. This is exactly what everyone knows, but it’s the action that’s important. For some properties, management is just as strapped for time as the residents, which may hinder them from making a move. It doesn’t have to be painful to be greener, so even just for advice or direction, property managers should reach out and get the help they need.

    Also, door to door IS the easiest for everyone, but offering both trash AND recycling collection may not drive the behavior we need to impact waste diversion. Those who are used to throwing everything away will continue to do so, especially if you make it easier on them by collecting at their doorstep. Offering ONLY recycling makes it comparatively easier than throwing away, so residents begin changing their habits to take advantage of the convenience of recycling more stuff.

    Zero waste is the reality of where our society is headed, so sustainability leaders can get started now and show the rest how it’s done!

    Todd Warren
    Green Link
    http://www.greenlinktx.com

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree